A Singapore grandma, a Danish expat and an unlikely friendship

A Singapore grandma, a Danish expat and an unlikely friendship
Annie Tan, 87, (right) and Danish expatriate Pernille Vedersø Bussone, 36, have formed a strong bond thanks to the special trishaw.
PHOTO: Our Better World

It was an unlikely friendship but Annie Tan, 87, and Danish expatriate Pernille Vedersø Bussone, 36, have formed a strong bond thanks to a special trishaw which takes them across the neighbourhood, allowing them to explore Singapore and meet new people along the way.

During their weekly meetings, Annie (or Auntie Annie) and Pernille talk about all things under the sun - where they come from, what their childhoods were like and where they would like to go in future.

It also gives Auntie Annie a chance to feel the wind in her hair - something many young and able people take for granted.

Their friendship is all thanks to the Cycling Without Age movement, which was born in Denmark in 2012 and has since expanded to over 20 countries.

It began when its founder, Ole Kassow, decided that he wanted to bring the joy of cycling to people who have lost the ability to do so because of their age.

Not only did the rides foster a connection between the young and old, they gave the elderly a chance to revisit and remember the places they once knew, to share stories about the past and to see how life had changed.

Singapore's ever-changing city is home to Cycling Without Age's first Asian branch, and anyone is welcome to rent the trishaw for free or volunteer to take seniors out for a trip down memory lane.

Pernille, who moved to Singapore with her family in 2014, works as head of the non-profit group full-time.

She first met Auntie Annie at the Salvation Army's Family Services Centre, and they have been going on their trishaw rides since August 2015.

Their families have since become close friends, and Auntie Annie makes Peranakan treats for Pernille's children, while Pernille brings Auntie Annie's family Danish Christmas cookies.

Video by: Our Better World


The Salvation Army was the first to adopt Cycling Without Age at their Family Services Center in Beo Crescent, and the elderly folk who visit the centre have been enjoying their rides through the neighbourhood.

Social Work Assistant Chris Wong, 38, said that the trishaw has put smiles on the faces of many elderly folk at the centre.

In a video produced by Our Better World, a storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation, one elderly man tells Chris that the ride he gave was "very good", while the elderly woman next to him said: "I love, I love".

Referring to the elderly folk who go for rides on the trishaw, Chris says: "They need companions, and they'll really appreciate you bringing them out even if it's a short stint of 15-30 minutes. They'll love it".

Find out more about how you can get involved on Our Better World.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

SHOPPING

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.